At last, the Japanese version has arrived! Or so I thought...
As a long time fan of Sherlock Hound, or Great Detective Holmes as it is known in Japan, I was delighted to hear that the UK version was being released.
The story follows the young sleuth and his cumbersome but loyal friend Watson, as they attempt to solve a number of cases which often lead them to their arch-rival, Moriarty. Typical of Miyazaki's trend at the time, the show is very fast-paced, colourful and does not at all take itself seriously.
A few months ago, an almost identical boxset was released (by Manga Home Entertainment) with one notable, yet disappointing, difference: the English dubbing. Not that I doubt the quality of the English/American narration, but I feel the Japanese voice actors are much more suited to this Lupin-esque comedy/adventure, and despite the obvious British settings, the original voices were clearly developed to fit the mould of Miyazaki's anthropomorphic cast.
HOWEVER, a mistake was made with item description, and despite being told otherwise by Amazon, a Japanese dub is not available within the UK. After sending a complaint, Amazon dealt with the situation promptly and professionally, and updated the specification details.
Fortunately, the English dub is not terrible, and the superbly low price also deserves a mention (and perhaps makes up for the wait - it was released in America 8 years ago!). However, the main downside for me is the poor lip-syncing and English script, which is not only patronizing but also detracts from the characters' appeal. Apparently, the original story was developed with the English dubbing in mind, but I find this hard to believe when the Japanese dubbing fits so clearly with the animation.
Nevertheless, for those who love steampunk and Miyazaki's mould-breaking characters, or those just interested in light-hearted adventure, this will surely entertain.
(If you are looking for a Japanese dub, try Amazon JP - there is a new version being released at the beginning of next year. Also, a lot of Ghibli/Miyazaki/Takahata films released in Japan also include English subtitles! Another option might be to buy the R1 version of the series which was released in America, but these are fetching a high price now, and you would need a R1 or multi-region DVD player.)Sherlock Hound [DVD] [1984
]Sherlock Hound - Complete Series [Hayao Miyazaki] 5 Disc Set (1985-1986)